We can't make winter end, but we can endure it with these delicious drinks.
The calendar may say it’s spring, but in much of the country, it feels like anything but. So to help you get over your winter blues, we’ve gone in search of hearty, warming cocktails. And this year, we’ve settled on dark rum. While you might think of rum as the stuff of mojitos and daiquiris, a great aged rum is much more substantial, with caramel-vanilla notes that take very well to winter flavors.
We’re using Mount Gay XO, a blend of rums from Barbados aged up to 15 years, giving it a superbly rich character; it’s toasty and, well, warming—exactly what we need right now. Give it a try in these three drinks, whether you’re just off the ski slopes or need some warmth-from-within after an icy commute.
Easy: The Snowball
Life gives you snow in March? Put it to good use. Our eyes were recently opened to the brilliance of using a snowball as cocktail ice. You need a good, solid snowfall to pull this off because you want super-clean snow—nothing off the top, no snow right next to the ground—just that fluffy, clean-as-a-whistle stuff in the middle.
Given its slushy character, snow starts to melt almost immediately when you add it to the glass, chilling the drink down and even sucking up some of the alcohol. Of course, that just means you get a rum-flavored snowball at the end…
Instructions: In a wide-mouthed glass, combine two ounces of Mount Gay XO, 1/2 ounce of raw sugar syrup (Sugar in the Raw dissolved in equal part hot water), two dashes of Angostura bitters, and one dash of orange bitters. Stir briefly, then squeeze one lemon and one orange peel over the top, and add to the glass. Pop in a snowball and let that chill the whole drink down.
Intermediate: Hot Spiced Rum
If it’s cold out, maybe you’re not looking for a snowy drink to make you even chillier. In that case, heat up the kettle; rich dark rum takes on tons of character with a big squeeze of lemon, plenty of spices, and a little unorthodox lime peel, with plenty of hot water to keep things from getting too boozy.
Instructions: In a heat-proof glass, combine an ounce and a half Mount Gay XO, 1/4 ounce honey syrup (honey dissolved in an equal part hot water), and one dash of Angostura bitters. Add three ounces of water just off the boil, and stir briefly to combine. Garnish with a piece of lime peel, studded with a few cloves; a lemon wedge, squeezed into the drink; and a long cinnamon stick.
Advanced: Rum Mulled Wine
Why do we stop serving mulled wine after the holiday season? There are any number of ways to make a great wine drink, and as long as it’s still snowing outside, we reserve the right to heat up our red wine and spike it however we please. In this case, with warming spices such as cinnamon, clove, and cardamom, plus a heavy pour of dark rum, naturally.
Instructions (makes two): In a small saucepan, combine eight ounces of fruity red wine, one cinnamon stick, one clove, one cracked green cardamom pod, and three allspice berries. Warm on medium heat for five to 10 minutes, until hot to the touch. For each drink, combine four ounces of this mulled wine with an ounce and a half Mount Gay XO and 1/2 ounce simple syrup; stir briefly and garnish with another cinnamon stick, clove, allspice berries, and freshly grated nutmeg.